In Rochdale, Tandem Theatre partnered with Rochdale Youth Service as part of Rochdale Borough Council.
The Youth Service runs a few young women’s groups across the borough and Tandem Theatre were privileged to be able to provide activities for them. The participants have never been to a museum with the youth group before so this was a huge achievement for them. The group really improved in confidence and self-esteem and increased their focus and commitment throughout the project. They produced some great work and their materials exhibited at public events gave them a sense of achievement:
“Hosting the exhibition was a important event for them. This took a lot of courage and confidence and they were incredible on the day.” Jasmin Akhtar, Rochdale Youth Council Youth Worker.
LEARNING FROM THE PAST
The group received guided tours at Archives + at Manchester Central Library where they handled the women’s suffrage collection and The People’s History Museum to see the wider context of women’s suffrage. The group also received a guided tour of the Rochdale Pioneers Museum ran by the Co-operative Heritage Trust to focus on the unique role the Co-operative movement played in Rochdale’s social history and focus on the role of the Co-operative Women’s Guild.
RECREATING THE PAST
In the arts and crafts workshops the group recreated suffragist materials such as a protest banner, rosettes, sashes, leaflets, booklets and badges. For more information on how suffragists used these materials click here.
The group researched the Co-operative Women’s Guild and how their power of working together and collating resources led to them being a powerful force for women’s rights. They decorated a giant jigsaw piece in the shape of the Rochdale borough with a picture of Eliza Breiley, the first woman to pay her £1 in full for her Co-operative membership in 1846.
For more information about The Women’s Co-operative Guild click here.
The group recreated the 1908 Manchester Women’s Suffrage Demonstration 1908 by marching down Lark Hill Place (a replica Victorian street at Salford Museum and Art Gallery) in costume wearing their sashes and displaying their banner.
For International Women’s Day the group displayed all their fantastic work at Rochdale Pioneers Museum and their lead artist ran suffragist themed making activities throughout the day.
APPLYING THE PAST TO TODAY
The group then applied what they had learnt about the suffragist campaign methods and applied it to today. Focusing on current issues the group felt most impacted them; they developed their own campaign through taking part in a series of workshops such as debating, marketing, music, spoken word, corporate sponsorship and T-shirt printing.
For more information about these methods of campaigning click here.
These set of sessions also provided content for the groups to share at the recreation of the 1912 Women’s Suffrage Bazaar.
ASSOCIATE LEAD ARTIST - Sophie Bullock
Sophie is a visual artist based in Manchester.